There’s an old idea that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If we think about the people who make up our personal ‘List of Five’, they probably aren’t that different to us. They are likely to have a similar background and experience, similar lifestyle and income, similar attitudes and beliefs.
In itself, this is not a bad thing – generally, we spend time with people because we like them! Neither should we interpret this idea too literally. However, if we are looking to make changes in our lives, then thinking about the people on our list can make a difference. If I want to get better at basketball, it’s fairly obvious that I need to spend time with people who are good at basketball. Want to feel more positive? Find a couple of positive people to hang out with, and see if it makes a difference.
What if we extend our definition of ‘people’? What might get added to the list then?
Does ‘social’ media count? How much time and attention do we spend there, with those ‘people’? And does it make us feel better or worse?
Consider the recent leaps made in AI. Do we want our list to contain any synthetic relationships, either now, or in the future?
This isn’t intended as a tirade, or to make anyone feel guilty – currently on my list would be a random Dutch guy on YouTube who is renovating a couple of cabins in the Italian Alps. But it is worth being thoughtful and intentional with our time, and thinking about who – or what – is on our ‘List of Five’ can help.